• Perspective of the Tassiriki Park Estate concept for Vila.

Vila, Vanuatu, 1970–71 (unbuilt)

Designed for Pierre Bourgeois, a French developer based the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), Tassiriki Park Estate was Snelling’s unbuilt concept for a resort subdivision occupying land on the south shore of Erakor Lagoon, Port Vila.

In a scheme pre-empting many canal subdivisions on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Snelling planned to excavate canals across the eastern end of the site to create two new islands. Another two islands would be reclaimed in the lagoon, all linked by sinuous new roads and bridges. The drawings depicted 190 house sites along the north half of the site and around the two proposed canal islands. Roads on both of these islands were to be cul-de-sacs and a church and kindergarten were suggested for one of the islands.

For the two lagoon islands, he planned 139 units of “island group housing”; these would be one- and two-storey, Mediterranean-style terraces with steeply pitched tile roofs of varying heights. Each unit was provided with an open car space off the street, a small lawn at the water’s edge, and either a jetty or dinghy storage. As with land parcels on the two canal islands, these sites were arranged in linear clusters allowing pocket parks between each group to give public access to the water. From a single-entry bridge, the roads would broaden to form irregularly edged (unkerbed) circular routes around densely landscaped central parks.

The town centre was designed as a walkable zone on the south shore of the lagoon with diagonal car parking along the wide waterfront promenade. This part of the Tassiriki site sloped down to the water, and Snelling planned to excavate the ground to nestle his two-to-four-storey hotel buildings into the landscape, keeping their rooflines at around the level of the higher ground. The hotel’s main buildings would wrap around the north side of a lushly landscaped park, including a swimming pool, fish pond, and outdoor restaurant. An L-shaped marina jetty would have allowed about fifteen boats to tie up at the resort so island-hopping sailors could shop, walk, and obtain refreshments.

Key walls of the resort buildings, the complex’s south boundary wall, and a large adjacent shopping centre were to be built in local stone, which would have lent the development an aesthetic of rustic monumentality. This approach was later seen in Bali’s Amandari and Amankila resorts, built in the mid- and late 1980s by Australian architects Peter Muller and Kerry Hill. Like the latter resorts, Tassiriki was planned to be densely landscaped with tropical plants and coconut palms.

Sources

—Pemberton, Gary J. 1984. Douglas B. Snelling: A Monograph of His Works (B. Arch dissertation). Sydney: New South Wales Institute of Technology.

—Sydney: Snelling Estate, Tassiriki Park Estate proposal document.